Tomato, cucumber, eggplant, pepper, are considered to be vegetables; whereas apple, mango, banana, pineapple, are thought to be fruits, right? That’s what you think, because that’s what you were taught. Period! Truth is, all the aforementioned crops are fruits, but one. Like what? Of course, fruits are much more common than vegetables, and have certain distinct features that make them fruits. Dear friends, your fruit salad might be fruit salad, but if you’re going for veggies, chances are you might be eating fruits. Here’s the botanical difference between fruits and vegetables.
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What Are Fruits And Vegetables?
First, a crash course about what’s a fruit and what’s even a vegetable. They are classified from both a botanical and a culinary perspective. Botanically, fruits and vegetables are classified based on the part of the plant they come from. A fruit develops from the flowering part of the plant, whereas a vegetable originate from other parts of the plant. Fruits contain seeds, whereas vegetables consist of the roots, stems and leaves of the plants.
On the other hand, culinarily, fruits and vegetables are classified based on their taste and their role in the kitchen. Kinda! Fruits are generally perceived with a sweet or tart taste (often used as desserts, snacks or juices). Veggies are more likely to have a mild or savory taste (often used in cooking or eaten as part of a meal). In summary, fruits contain seeds and come from the flower of the plant, whereas the rest of the plant is considered a vegetable.
I’m A Fruit, Not Vegetable
So let’s ask: how many fruits do you consider as vegetables? Somewhere stuck between peachy, huh? In fact, there are several plants that are botanically fruits, but they are often classified as vegetables simply because they seem like veggies. Tomatoes are a typical (yet controversial) example. The United States Supreme Court ruled in favor that tomatoes should be classified as vegetables instead of fruits under the US customs regulations in 1893. Oh yeah, it really got to such extent.
Botanically speaking, tomatoes fit the definition of fruits, however, they are classified as vegetables because of their culinary features. There are a few common examples of fruits that are mistaken to be veggies. These include avocados, cucumber, eggplant, olives, pepper, pea pods, pumpkin, winter squash, zucchini, among several others. Spoiler alert: your vegetable salad is actually fruit salad.
I’m A Vegetable, Not Fruit
On the other hand yet again, there are vegetables that are also mistaken as fruits — although these are a few — or if any. Some variety of veggies are naturally sweet flavored than most other vegetables and are often used as fruits for dessert, pies, and baked foods. For instance, sweet potatoes are often used in the traditional-custom sweet potato pie on Thanksgiving Day in the US. Despite it sweet flavor and edible tuber, sweet potatoes are actually a root crop, thus their botanically vegetables, and not fruits. Weird? That’s nature.
Other well-known crops with natural sweetness include beets, carrots, rutabagas, and turnips. Botanically speaking, they are root crops, thus they are vegetables. To finally wrap up, in our introduction we made mention of some crops (tomato, cucumber, eggplant, pepper, and, apple, mango, banana, pineapple). Here’s the question: there’s only one vegetable among them. Which one is it?
Let us know your answer in the comments.
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Written by: Nana Kwadwo, Thu, Oct 22, 2020.